Former National Security Agency contractor Edward Snowden hopes Russian authorities will clear the way by Wednesday for him to leave a Moscow airport after a month trapped in limbo there.
His hope is that Russian authorities will grant him temporary asylum in Moscow city center, Reuters reported, citing the leaker’s Russian lawyer, Anatoly Kucherena.
Snowden filed for temporary asylum on July 16, and it may take as long as three months to process, though he can leave the airport after an initial response from Russian authorities, according to Reuters.
Snowden is staying in Russia while he decides where to go next. A number of countries have offered asylum to him, but he has not left the airport in Moscow for about a month. He was previously holed up in a hotel in Hong Kong.
Snowden is wanted by the U.S. government for leaking classified documents that provide details about the country’s massive surveillance dragnet. His case has become a major flashpoint in Russian-American relations, and U.S. President Barack Obama may even skip a sitdown with Russian President Vladimir Putin later this summer over the flap, according to reports.
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U.S. Army General Keith Alexander, who heads up the NSA, said in a Monday interview with NBC News that the leaks have already caused damage to the agency's anti-terror efforts.
"We have concrete proof that they have already, terrorists groups and others, are taking action, making changes, and it's going to make our job tougher," Alexander said.
Meanwhile, a U.S. official told CNN that Snowden did not access the “crown jewels” of the NSA’s surveillance regime.
Also, Mashable reports that an Oxford University neuroscientist named Christian Honey has launched a campaign dubbed “Fly Edward Snowden Fly” to raise money to help pay for Snowden to travel to Venezuela, where he has been offered asylum.